Members of the American Refugee Committee are about to head out to Liberia with the goal of stopping the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa.
Health care worker and Brooklyn Park resident Wynfred Russell is the response manager for the team. He recently returned from West Africa where he was making preparations for the group.
"I was not in contact with any sick person," he said. "I did not even see my mother, or other relatives when I was there."
When he returned to Minnesota, Russell went on a 21-day quarantine as a precaution against Ebola. He was basically holed up inside his Brooklyn Park townhome.
"I got grocery supplies through a grocery service that would drop it off," Russell said. "Friends also dropped off food and other supplies."
Russell spent much of his time reading, reflecting, watching television and writing. He said it was tough staying put, but he knows people in Liberia don't have it as easy.
"At least I have lights, I have water, I have food. Those folks have none," Russell said.
Russell was also monitored by the Minnesota Department of Health, taking his temperature twice daily and reporting his findings. He said his trip was worth the trouble just to make sure everything goes smoothly for the American Refugee Committee, which will be managing an Ebola treatment unit in Fish Town, a rural community of Liberia.
About 15 members of the American Refugee Committee are traveling to Liberia Thursday, one of the largest groups to head out from Minnesota. Many volunteers are Liberian-Americans from the northwest metro.
On Tuesday the group spent the day getting briefed on safety precautions. About 5,000 people have died from Ebola, so safety is a top priority.
"Everything has been carefully researched and planned, all of the equipment has been carefully selected as the best possible equipment on the market," said Allan Martinez–Venegas of the American Refugee Committee.
Another wave of American Refugee members will head out in about two weeks. Wynfred Russell will be among them. All of the members will be on 21-day quarantine when they return to Minnesota.
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